KUALA LUMPUR, 20 May 2020 – Since the COVID-19 outbreak, there have been many changes in the Malaysian property market, and the working-from-home culture has changed for many, becoming the first choice for a vast amount of companies. Tenants have also developed a very different mindset in their living preferences today.
Wong Whei Meng, chief executive officer of SPEEDHOME stated that in recent years, it was only startups and foreign-owned companies that implemented a work from home policy. But after the outbreak, working from home has become the new normal and this is expected to continue this, in turn will affect the tenants’ mindset of renting a home.
Suburban houses will become more popular
“I believe that in the next year, there will be more white-collar workers choosing to work from home. Therefore, in the past, traffic-oriented development (TOD) properties may have not been favoured by tenants, and tenants will have not looked for houses near office buildings.
“In the future, some house types that have larger space, and that are based on the outskirts of the city area such as Bangi, Setia Alam, and Kajang may be favored by more office workers,” Wong stated.
Short-term rent becomes long-term rent
In addition, in a bid to prevent the spread of the disease, many nations’ governments have shut their borders, causing the tourism industry to be hit extremely hard. Some homeowners that rent immersed in the short-term rental industry have got zero guests in March and April.
SPEEDHOME has recently received approximately 200 new listings from the short-term rental unit owners in the past month. They chose to list their properties on SPEEDHOME in order to find long-term tenants to combat the issues that they are facing.
“For at least the next 6-months, the domestic and foreign tourism industry will still be in a downturn. If we have not yet found the vaccine, people will still avoid crossing borders and traveling. Keeping a safe social distance is the best way to fight this virus. Border control will not be relaxed in the short term, said Wong Whei Meng.
Tenant bargaining power becoming stronger
With the increase in housing rental supply, the bargaining power of the homeowner will be worse than before; tenants may also be affected by income, and they will also be more sensitive to the price of rent. Wong believes that some older buildings, unfurnished property will face longer periods of vacancy and if the homeowner increases the rent, the tenants who choose to relocate will stand in the vast majority.
Finally, Wong said “Every industry in Malaysia has been affected by the epidemic. My suggestion to the majority of homeowners is to reduce the vacancy period of your house as much as possible. If your house is rented during the period of interest exemption by the bank, customers can easily cover the bank’s loan interest. Therefore, we must use an objective method to analyze the tenant’s ability to pay rent, and not to judge whether the other party is a good tenant through ethnicity. This is the best policy.”